Friday, February 19, 2016

Crackle Weave Workshop with Susan Wilson

We were very fortunate to rent the beautiful Diocese of Baker retreat center for our workshop. It's in Powell Butte, a rural community in Central Oregon 18 miles from our house.
The multi-purpose building on the right is where we set up 17 looms for a three-day workshop on Crackle Weave with the delightful Susan Wilson who has also written a book on the subject.
With all the natural light, it's certainly the best facility we could have arranged for a weaving workshop and the price is right. Oh, and you can rent it for family reunions - check their website for more information.
Even the kitchen was top notch with everything we could have wanted including two refrigerators.
These are some of Susan's samples to show what Crackle looks like. She calls it a squishy draft that you can push around and make it do what you want it to. I just know I want to weave something like that baby blanket on the left for my new baby great-grandson.
Each session went from 9:30 in the morning until 4:30 in the afternoon, though many of us came when Patty opened the room up at 8:30 and stayed until 5:00. Subtracting the four hours of lecture each day, that left a whole lot of weaving time.
Susan provided the threadings in advance and each of us came ready to go, with our looms warped according to one of her five options. She asked us to use 10/2 perle cotton for warp and gave suggested yarns for weft. With our different yarns and the varied threading we produced quite unique results. This is Cindy's loom and of course I love her bright colors.
Laura chose subtle colors that were very close in color and value. Periodically I walked around to see what Crackle looked like on other looms.
This is my sample of Crackle woven as Overshot. Nothing subtle about my colors. I still have a difficult time recognizing the grist of yarn and I thought my warp was 8/2, however it was in fact 5/2 which is pretty fat compared to the 10/2 that she asked us to use and so my samples were different from the get-go.
This is my little Dorset which has turned out to be a great workshop loom. (Thank you Dee Jones for finding it for me!) I had sticky notes everywhere. Yesterday morning Patty sent out an email that she was up early and was going to open up the place and be weaving by 7:30. It was just 6:15 and I was on my first cup of coffee. I hustled and got there at 7:45. It was a long day and my brains are still scrambled.
One of the things that distinguishes this structure is it's tie-up. On four shafts it must be 34,14,12,23 as opposed to the standard tie-up we all know and love - 12,23,34,14. She insisted we stop saying 14 for the last in the sequence and use the correct 41 - more confusion for me. All of us with direct tie-up looms including table looms had to write charts showing the two harnesses that had to be lifted. We had lam envy!! After writing a dozen conversion charts for direct tie-up I will never forget this. Repetition is a great learning tool. I've struggled to understand profile drafts and drawdowns, but with each sample and new conversion chart, it started to make sense.
I wish I had ordered Susan's book in advance of the workshop. She's a superior teacher and she wrote the book to supplement her teaching, so she referenced page numbers for those who had brought their books. I ordered a copy Wednesday night after I got home and plan to order 10/2 perle cotton and do another sampler on one of my Gilmores (so I don't have use conversion charts). I took copious notes including page numbers for when my book arrives. This is only my third weaving workshop and how lucky I am. I learned a ton.
This is another sample with different threading, different colors and different results but it's still crackle. Mary Meigs Atwater introduced this weave structure and also gave it it's name. She thought it looked like the crackled glaze of salt fired pottery. Yeah, I don't see it either.
These are more of Susan's samples. Crackle has tremendous potential to blend colors together and the variations seem to be endless. However! It requires at least two shuttles. It was difficult to manage multiple shuttles on our little looms so you could hear shuttles hitting the floor at random times.
I took four shuttles, two which were Little Man. I bought them at Black Sheep Gathering from Mr Howell while he was still alive but I rarely use them. Gillian adored them and bought them from me so I can now buy that second Schacht end-feed shuttle that I've been wanting. We were both happy. After she packed up she came all the way back in to give me a big appreciative hug. Which is ironic since I couldn't stand the shuttles but felt responsible for them because of their history.
Linda stopped by the Newport Market yesterday morning to pick up some more snacks and bought these to our great amusement. Anything from Newport is good but these had that little added something. Oh I do love living in Central Oregon - so so much.


LA said...

How fun!!! Thanks for the great pictures....I haven't tried crackle's on my list to try.

Lindsey said...

I've never liked the look of crackle weave so have never tried it. It sounds like you are in hog heaven in your new digs . How wonderful.